food for thought; Advent

Sometimes I don’t need God to tell me what he is like so much as I need God
to tell me everything will be alright.

anonymous


(Julie Cook / 2013)

So as the debates rage on…
Be it a draconian world supposedly led by science vs one of humanity’s common sense…
complicated by lockdowns, masks, vaccines…
I caught a few storylines yesterday that only seem to add to the confusing madness.

According to Fox News, Kim Jong Un, North Korea’s supreme nutjob,
has ordered national executions, placed a ban on fishing as well as placing a
ban on salt production…
These various actions being his idea of handling Covid and preventing it from
entering his hermit kingdom.

Kim Jong Un has ordered at least two people executed, banned fishing at sea,
and locked down the capital, Pyongyang, as part of frantic efforts to guard against the
coronavirus and its economic damage, South Korea’s spy agency told lawmakers Friday.

One of the lawmakers, Ha Tae-keung, quoted the NIS as saying Kim is displaying
“excessive anger” and taking “irrational measures” over the pandemic and its economic impact.

Ha said the NIS told lawmakers that North Korea executed a high-profile
money changer in Pyongyang last month after holding the person responsible
for a falling exchange rate.
He quoted the NIS as saying that North Korea also executed a key official in August
for violating government regulations restricting goods brought from abroad.
The two people weren’t identified by name.

North Korea has also banned fishing and salt production at sea to prevent seawater
from being infected with the virus, the NIS told lawmakers.

So I suppose if you can kill the people first before they even can get sick…
then that makes perfect sense.

Next came a more somber headline out of Japan–

You may or may not know this but Japan has a very dark secret…
it has the dubious distinction for a proliferation of suicide.
They even have a beautiful and tranquil forest that is known as a place where
folks go to end things…the suicide forest.

And given the added burden brought about from the pandemic, be it lockdowns, lost
economy…Japan’s fragile mental health is even more fractured.

The National Police Agency said suicides surged to 2,153 in October alone,
with more than 17,000 people taking their own lives this year to date, CBS reported.

By comparison, fewer than 2,000 people in the country have died from COVID-19 in 2020.

The forest might need to be exorcised.

Then there was this little cheery headline:
The US could face an ‘apocalypse’ by Christmas as COVID-19 cases surge

Apocalypse in one hand…Christmas in the other.
Notice how I am weighing them.
Tipping back and forth…yet Christmas just simply lifts higher.

Winter is setting down upon us.
Heavy, dark, and foreboding.
Yet we must not despair.

We must not allow the news outlets or our leaders to crush our hope.
We must not allow them to crush our Christmas spirit!
Let us not allow a pandemic to win.
Let us not allow despair to triumph.

We are preparing today to enter an ancient time of mystery.
And it is in this mystery that we have overcome the world…
This mystery has overcome pandemics, elections, wars, division, animosity,
hatred, pettiness, along with man’s small-mindedness.

We are allowed a small peek at the ending of the story…and in that glimpse,
we see that victory will indeed be ours.

Be clear-minded.
Be watchful.
Wait…
He will come…

God travels wonderful ways with human beings,
but he does not comply with the views and opinions of people.
God does not go the way that people want to prescribe for him; rather,
his way is beyond all comprehension, free and self-determined beyond all proof.
Where reason is indignant, where our nature rebels,
where our piety anxiously keeps us away: that is precisely where God loves to be.
There he confounds the reason of the reasonable;
there he aggravates our nature, our piety—that is where he wants to be,
and no one can keep him from it.
Only the humble believe him and rejoice that God is so free and so marvelous
that he does wonders where people despair, that he takes what is little and lowly
and makes it marvelous.
And that is the wonder of all wonders, that God loves the lowly…
God is not ashamed of the lowliness of human beings.
God marches right in.
He chooses people as his instruments and performs his wonders where one would
least expect them.
God is near to lowliness; he loves the lost, the neglected,
the unseemly, the excluded, the weak and broken.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer,
God is in the Manger: Reflections on Advent and Christmas

It is what it is…

“When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.”
― Dietrich Bonhoeffer

RSCN1851
(up close and personal with a sheep / Slieve League, Co Donegal, Ireland / Julie Cook / 2015)

Maybe I read more news then I should…
Maybe I read the stories that don’t receive the same amount of coverage or
attention as say… those stories which fill and flood our news outlets…
just as excessive rains fill a sewer system…

Sending a sea of garbage filled overflow flooding into all of our lives…
whether we ask for it or not…

For it seems that there are just too many “newsless” stories which seem to overshadow the truly more pressing stories…
those stories that we really should be focusing on…
especially as Christians…

Why as Christians you ask?
Why should I worry myself with the happenings and business of things which take place
“over there”
you muse?

Well…because in a plain spoken reminder, by one who did just that…
Dietrich Bonhoeffer reminds us that when Christ calls…
when He calls both you and I…
it is a call to die…
to die unto self.

We are united in the faith and fellowship in the single body of Christ,
with our brothers and sisters around this globe…
and when one part of the body hurts and aches,
so does the whole…

It behooves us to be mindful that we have a vested interest in the
honoring of God’s sovereign land of Israel…
of which the US and the current administration has opted not to do…

It behooves us to be aware of the sacrifices made globally
by our brothers and sisters in Christ who suffer because of their faith.
Those who are imprisoned, tortured and killed just for worshiping…
What will ever stop that happening say…one day to us…

It behooves us to be mindful that we in the West take for granted the freedom
to walk into our various houses of worship while so many others cannot…

It behooves us to note that if we fail to speak or act on their behalf,
on the behalf of countless others scattered around this ailing world…
then who will remain to act on ours…..

The following links are to recent stories…
stories reporting the events taking place in Israel,
the Christian genocide in Iraq by IS, the destruction of churches in China and
how 2015 was a very bad year for Christians worldwide:

http://news.yahoo.com/white-house-says-israels-netanyahu-opted-cancel-visit-211709688.html

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2016/03/08/separate-attacks-reported-in-israel-2-security-officers-injured.html?intcmp=hpbt3

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2016/03/08/beheadings-imprisonment-made-2015-worst-year-for-christian-persecution-report-finds.html?intcmp=hpbt2

https://www.yahoo.com/politics/catholics-urge-obama-to-use-1382330232389686.html

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2016/03/10/report-details-isis-atrocities-against-christians-presses-state-for-genocide-label.html?intcmp=hpbt1

http://uverse.com/uv/watch/c___Wbh9DOcn41YA?ref=yfp

First they came for the Communists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Communist
Then they came for the Socialists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Socialist
Then they came for the trade unionists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a trade unionist
Then they came for the Jews
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Jew
Then they came for me
And there was no one left
To speak out for me

Martin Niemoller